Roman Prosperity & Caesar IV

nb. I found this post lurking in a dark nether region of my wordpress dashboard, and it appears I never published it. So here it is! Having spent a great deal of time in my thesis pondering the mysteries of Roman economics, it is curious to see how a city-builder game like Caesar IV demands many of the same skills – working with cost ratios, determining how much of a particular resource certain kinds of activities consume, distance & profit calculations – see for instance the discussion here and the tables here. Then go and study something like The Baths … Continue reading Roman Prosperity & Caesar IV

Report on the Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age Conference, Trondeheim, Norway

From Andrew Reinhard, a report on the recent short conference detailing the nascent Classicists-discover-computer-games movement: A revolution is happening now and the flashpoint is Scandinavia. Both Sweden and Norway have fought and won to keep Classics as a vital and viable subject of study at the secondary school and university level. Activist bloggers like Moa Ekbom in Sweden (see her Latinblogg), and activist students like Magnus Eriksson in Norway have been responsible for rescuing canceled Classics programs while at the same time finding ways to resuscitate Classics, promoting and publicizing both Latin and Greek as important for contemporary audiences, not … Continue reading Report on the Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age Conference, Trondeheim, Norway

Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age

If you’re going to be anywhere near Trondheim in the next while, you might want to take in ‘Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age‘. If you go, steal all the handouts & powerpoints you can, and send them to me… I’ve had the pleasure of correspondence with some of the presenters, so I know it’ll be a stimulating programme; I note that Caesar IV is under discussion too – I play way too much of that game… I have mused elsewhere on its possibilities as a counterfactual approach to Roman economics. Ah to be in Trondheim in February… … Continue reading Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age

Forum Novum: a market in the Sabine Hills – scenario for Caesar IV

This is my first attempt at a scenario for Caesar IV. It is based, loosely, on the site of Forum Novum in the Sabine Hills north of Rome. What I have always found fascinating about this site is the way it didn’t develop into what we would recognise as a ‘town’, per se. A student playing this scenario as part of a class on Roman urbanism would try to reach the ‘winning conditions’, but would be encouraged to look at the underlying assumptions the game makes about social, civil, economic, and religious life. Specifically, by using the game as a … Continue reading Forum Novum: a market in the Sabine Hills – scenario for Caesar IV

FYI – Caesar IV tutorial

A tutorial covering just about everything related to scenario building in Caesar IV may be found here. My ambition is to create a Forum Novum scenario, with as close as an approximation to real Roman economic realities built in as possible… postscript: A small program for checking your scenario for errors is available from this thread (scroll down). It checks for the following: “When you load a scenario, it will check for these things: – factories that are missing raw materials – missing natural resources such as clay pits and iron mines – resources that are available but can never … Continue reading FYI – Caesar IV tutorial

On Caesar IV and the Ancient Economy

Having spent a great deal of time in my thesis pondering (amongst other things) the mysteries of Roman economics, it is curious to see how a city-builder game like Caesar IV demands many of the same skills – working with cost ratios, determining how much of a particular resource certain kinds of activities consume, distance & profit calculations – see for instance the discussion here and the tables here. Then go and study something like The Baths of Caracalla by Janet DeLaine. It is all strangely similar. I would have done better to have spent a few months playing the … Continue reading On Caesar IV and the Ancient Economy

Caesar IV and the Empire Online

I’ve enjoyed playing Caesar IV, a Roman city-building game. I’ve always gotten a kick out of city builders, ever since playing the first Sim-City on my brother’s 286 in college. Having read Bogost’s ‘Persuasive Games’, I’ve been wondering about the procedural rhetoric of the game, its anachronisms v. its historicity , etc. I’ll probably post something to that effect, eventually. I haven’t played the online version of the game yet, and today I came across the website for the online game. It’s quite interesting in that, for once, there is no MMO, no MMORPG… it seems in fact to be … Continue reading Caesar IV and the Empire Online